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Old 02-20-2012, 05:47 AM
 
66 posts, read 55,162 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goldengrain View Post
Do you prefer to stop at a lot of sites, or would you be happy just cruising around onboard for the duration?

I think some people prefer 7 to 14 days at a stretch, yet there are some who have retired on cruise ships and spend their life just riding around the world.

I see the Regent line has a long cruise and many days at different ports. I kind of like them because it is all expenses paid, but for airfare. Some have said that the all expenses paid cruises, although seeming expensive, cost them as much as the less expensive cruises that nickel and dime you once you're onboard.

Is there a difference between a 'Grand' cruise and a 'World' cruise? Is this just something a cruise line uses to designate a length of time?
I'm not exactly the voice of authority having only been on 3 cruises so far, but I have other family members who have cruised more extensively, and we seem to share the same opinions. It all depends on the venue where you are sailing. Our five country Mediterranean cruise was on a brand new Carnival ship which was very nice, and we stopped in ports where our culture-rich shore excursions were pretty fantastic (with the exception of Rome). Our cruise to Hawaii was on a two-year old RC ship that was also nice with great food and service, and we stopped at 4 of the islands with great shore excursions. Our 3rd cruise to the Caribbean was on a 10-year old RC ship that was definitely starting to show its age (although it was not horrible). Did have some odd smells, and the food was not nearly as good as what we had on our Hawaii RC cruise. Also, we were pretty disappointed in the shore excursions except for a couple. The islands are very impoverished, and I kind of felt guilty about being on a nice vacation while they live in such poor conditions. Although someone reminded me that they do depend on our tourist dollars. Nor were all the islands as lush and beautiful as I thought tropical islands would be. If I were to cruise the Caribbean again, I would definitely pick as new a ship as possible and enjoy all the amenities on board, and I would be very selective about what excursions I would pay extra for. I would also consider maybe just a few private shore tours to take rather than ship sponsored.

Last edited by BstYet2Be; 02-22-2012 at 04:52 AM.. Reason: repaired quote
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:42 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
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We just returned from our 10th cruise. I don't mind 1 day at sea, but 2 in a row is too much for us. We are more the "get a taste" of new places cruisers than a "do nothing but relax". My husband goes nuts with too much time not doing something. We found the food on all cruiselines to be going down in quality; although initially the food on both RC and NCL was better than Carnival, after 3 days, I find myself eating salad and cookies since everything else starts to taste the same and gets either too spicy to eat or bland and not even close to what it should be. I've been making lasagna for 50 years and I saw my first ever "meat lasagne" made with absolutely no cheese, 2 measly pieces of pasta and a whole lot of meat along with greasy tomato sauce - not pasta sauce, not Italian "gravy", a red tomatoey blah tasting, open-a-can of tomato sauce. ICK! On our 2 week Med cruise on RC, I lost 10 pounds. Seriously. I lost 5 pounds on this last week long cruise.

My favorite cruise was the Med and we are planning to do a near-repeat - this time on Carnival, our favorite cruiseline, and to either take the eastern Med or southern Med.

Seeing new places, learning of other cultures, seeing - how people live, just some basic contact with them - lets us know whether we will ever want to return for a week or more.

I'm glad we took the southern Caribbean cruise in Sept. I know that the heat of those island places would make even my "gotta DO" husband much less of a GO-DOer and I understand why the people were sitting doing little as we passed by their houses. I also know I have no interest in returning, except maybe again to St. Thomas - we've been there twice so far and I love it. Jamaica last May was nice and I could see returning there but not on a cruise.
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:54 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
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TweedleDee, I'm curious as to why you didn't like the Rome excursion as we had mixed feelings about ours (last Oct on RC). We almost took the Carnival cruise, but we wanted to hit Turkey and Carnival went to Croatia instead. We loved, absolutely could move there, Barcelona. Naples was cute and we loved the history, Rome..........it wasn't enough, it was too rushed, it focused too much on Vatican City and not enough on the historical parts of the rest of Rome - and it was dirty, the people are rude to each other, sigh, I wanted to see more than just a quick, take a picture as we flew by the rest of Rome while the guide chattered on about nothing that caught our eye and we wanted more REAL history.

That was the only cruise where we flew in a couple days ahead of time - we stayed in Barcelona in a B&B and it was perfect. The weather was perfect, the people were so friendly and dealt with the language barrier with ease and grace - I LOVE Barcelona and its people, just wish they'd stop building that stupid gaudy church and start using it!
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:58 PM
 
66 posts, read 55,162 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
TweedleDee, I'm curious as to why you didn't like the Rome excursion...
There were several reasons....First, it was extremely crowded, even on a number of the side streets. Since the streets were so narrow, our tour bus dropped us off many blocks from Trevi Fountain, and it was difficult pushing the wheelchair of one of our party that far over the rough cobblestones. Not only are the cobblestones small, rough, and uneven, they are very dark (almost black) lending to the dark dirty atmosphere of the city. Even though we had almost 10 hours in the city for our tour, we only got to see a small part of Vatican City, the Forum, the Colisseum, Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon. The biggest piazza we passed by was Piazza Navona, and like the other squares we saw, it had no green spaces. Trevi Fountain was so crowded it was hard to get up close to take a picture. While I was standing there waiting with a small coin in my hand to toss in the fountain, I felt "something" bumped my arm, and in the blink of an eye, the coin was gone with no thief in sight. Fortunately, it was only a small coin. We also spent a significant amount of time just driving around on the bus to get to another section of town to eat at the tour company's chosen restaurant for lunch. Then we drove completely back to the other side of town where we picked back up on our site-seeing again! We lost a lot of time just walking and riding rather than actually visiting attractions.

Last edited by BstYet2Be; 02-22-2012 at 04:47 AM.. Reason: repaired quote
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TweedleDee View Post
I would also consider maybe just a few private shore tours to take rather than ship sponsored.
Absolutely the way to go. My wife and I cruise quite often and we always arrange private tours (or explore on our own) rather than book the ship's excursions. I hate van and bus tours. Last year we spent 74 days on cruises as follows:

Jan/Feb: 30-day cruise from Los Angeles around Cape Horn to Brazil, with port stops in Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. (After disembarking, we spent a week in Sao Paulo & Rio.)

Apr/May: 16-day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to Rome, with stops in the Azores, Spain and Monaco. We then spent five additional days in Rome.

Oct/Nov: 14-day cruise from Barcelona to New Orleans, with pre and post cruise hotel stays in Spain & N.O.

Dec: 14-day cruise from Rome to Ft. Lauderdale, with stops in France, Spain, and the Canary Islands along the way.

This coming April we are taking another transatlantic cruise from Miami to Malaga, Spain, and then spending 10 additional days there before flying home from Madrid. We also have another 30-day cruise booked for next Feb/Mar from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires and tentative plans to cruise from Honolulu to Sydney, Australia, this October.

As you can see, we think that cruising is a wonderful way to travel.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:47 PM
 
66 posts, read 55,162 times
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@ MadManofBathesda - Awesome! You are very fortunate to be able to travel so extensively. Happy trails!
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Old 02-23-2012, 09:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TweedleDee View Post
@ MadManofBathesda - Awesome! You are very fortunate to be able to travel so extensively. Happy trails!
Thank you. My love of traveling was one of my main motivations for retiring two years ago at the age of 54. I was tired of trying to plan trips in one or two-week vacation blocks. It's much nicer to be able to travel leisurely for weeks or even months at a time.

It's also nice to be able to take advantage of last-minute travel specials rather than having to book months in advance in accordance with vacation schedules. As an example, the cruise we took last October from Barcelona to New Orleans was 14 nights but only cost $499 per person because it hadn't been selling well and Royal Caribbean was discounting the cabins to try and fill the ship. $499 for a two-week cruise was just too good to pass up even though we were already scheduled to embark on a Celebrity two-week transatlantic cruise from Rome to Ft. Lauderdale just 10-days after we would be getting home from the RCL cruise.
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:17 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadManofBethesda View Post
Thank you. My love of traveling was one of my main motivations for retiring two years ago at the age of 54. I was tired of trying to plan trips in one or two-week vacation blocks. It's much nicer to be able to travel leisurely for weeks or even months at a time.

It's also nice to be able to take advantage of last-minute travel specials rather than having to book months in advance in accordance with vacation schedules. As an example, the cruise we took last October from Barcelona to New Orleans was 14 nights but only cost $499 per person because it hadn't been selling well and Royal Caribbean was discounting the cabins to try and fill the ship. $499 for a two-week cruise was just too good to pass up even though we were already scheduled to embark on a Celebrity two-week transatlantic cruise from Rome to Ft. Lauderdale just 10-days after we would be getting home from the RCL cruise.
My husband is also retiring early - he'll be 57 the month before retirement - among the reasons is travel. We have been fortunate that over the last 5 or so years we've been able to plan cruises last minute and, like you, take advantage of the deals just days ahead of leaving.

Actually, the deals are one of our biggest reasons for travelling Carnival, now it's our 2nd reason - with cabin sizes being more important. The deals can always be found.

We made a mistake of using an agent once and that just will not happen again.
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Old 02-24-2012, 07:24 AM
 
Location: southwest TN
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TweedleDee - many of the older cities, Italy, Turkey, and Greece, just cannot handle today's tour buses. Because we didn't have a lot of time and it was our first visit to the stops in those cities, we opted for the ship's excursions. Each one we signed up for was for medium abilities owing to the distance of the walk and the difficulty. Many of the folks had trouble keeping up.

I also found Rome quite dirty - much more than other cities - there seemed to be a lack of pride.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Earth Wanderer, longing for the stars.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Annie View Post
My husband is also retiring early - he'll be 57 the month before retirement - among the reasons is travel. We have been fortunate that over the last 5 or so years we've been able to plan cruises last minute and, like you, take advantage of the deals just days ahead of leaving.

Actually, the deals are one of our biggest reasons for travelling Carnival, now it's our 2nd reason - with cabin sizes being more important. The deals can always be found.

We made a mistake of using an agent once and that just will not happen again.
May I ask what the problem was with the agent?
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